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Puri Jagannath Rath Yathra | World Famous Temple in Orissa State

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Puri is in Odisha state.

History and Some Facts About Heavenly Powered Human Form

Puri Jagannath TemplePuri or Poori name is enough to remember lord Shri Krishna and Rath Yathra. Centuries ago there was a King named Indradyumna who was a great and disciple devotee of Lord Shri Krishna. The king's priestly minister had informed the king that Lord Krishna was present on earth in his Deity form known as Nila Madhava.

When the King heard this news he asked his minister to find Lord Nila Madhava for him. After a great deal of searching and endeavor, the minister finally found that Lord Nila Madhava was in a cave being secretly worshiped by the leader of a village of pig farmers.

After some intriguing endeavor, the minister finally discovered the secret location where Lord Nila Madhava was located. The minister immediately went back and informed the great King Indradyumna that he had located Lord Nila Madhava, and upon hearing this, the King quickly set out with his entourage to fetch Lord Nila Madhava and bring him back to his capital to worship him with great opulence.

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Found Nila Madhava Cave

After the very arduous journey, the traveling party finally reached the secret cave where the Deity of Nila Madhava was located. With full anticipation and excitement, upon entering the cave, the king was shocked to discover that the Deity of Lord Nila Madhava was no longer there.

Lord Nila Madhava had left never to return and King Indradyumna was totally grief-stricken. After some time, in a dream, Lord Nila Madhava came to the king telling him that he would return and that a temple should be built for him to reside in. The King being absolutely delighted with this news began constructing a magnificent temple. This temple is now known as the world-famous temple of Jagannatha in the City of Puri in Orissa on the Bay of Bengal. (This temple is also called as a mysterious temple with several unbelievable mysteries.)

Lord Jagannatha Appears

As King Indradyumna waited for his worshipful Lord to manifest he became anxious wondering when the Lord would appear. Then he had another dream. In this dream, Lord Krishna informed him that a huge log will float up onto the beach. This will not be an ordinary log but very unique.

No one will able to cut or even lift it except for one person. You will know that this person will be the one who will carve the log in the form of the Lord known as Lord Jagannatha. Lord of the Universe.

True to the dream a large log floated up onto the beach which no one was able to move. After many attempts to move this curious log by the strongest of men, one elderly man came forward and with ease single-handedly lifted the log. Everyone who presented there was surprised.

The King knew this was the woodcarver who had been empowered to carve the form of his worshipable Lord. The old wood-carver agreed to carve the Deity of the Lord but under very strict conditions. As long as he was working no one should interrupt or enter the room where the work was going on.

The king agreed. As the days passed the King's anticipation and anxiety to see the Lord grew when all of a sudden the tapping of the wood carvers hammer and chisel stopped. Unable to contain his eagerness any longer King Indradyumna burst into the room where the Deities were being carved and true to his word the wood sculptor left immediately.

When the King saw the three sculpted forms before him he was stunned. The so-called form of his worshipful Lord Krishna appeared unfinished. It had short stubs where the arms should be and huge round eyes.

King Indradyumna began to lament uncontrollably. Shortly after the great sage Narada Muni appeared before the king and inquired as to the reason for his intense grief. King Indradyumna informed the sage of the episodes that took place. Narada Muni then informed the King that the form of Lord before him was actually Lord Krishna in a most merciful form.

The Origin of Lord Jagannatha's Form

Narada Muni went on to explain to Indradyumna Maharaja the origin of this unique form of Lord Krishna known as Jagannatha. One day while in His Capital city of Dwaraka, Lord Krishna began thinking of His sweet Gopi friend Radharani from His village days in Vrindavan or Brindavan.

Feeling intense separation from her, the Lord fell unconscious. The great sage Narada Muni happened to come there with Uddava and upon seeing the condition of Krishna, they began discussing how to revive Him. They concluded that Narada Muni should sing the glories of Krishna's former Vrundavan village life to Him.

This would certainly relieve His condition. Like many cures for diseases, there is often times a side effect and such would be the case with this cure. Upon hearing the tales of Vrindavan from Narada Muni certainly, Lord Krishna would awaken but at the same time, he would immediately want to go to Vrndavana.

However upon arriving there, Krishna would see all the residents in such a piteous condition of crying due to he left them previously, he would not want to return back to Dwarka.

This would not be good for the citizens of Dwarka. After some consideration, it was concluded that Krishna's sister Subhadra should go there ahead of Krishna to inform them that He is returning. In this way they would arrange for a nice festive indeed a grand welcoming and their mood would be very joyful.

When Subadra was ready to leave, her brother Balarama decided that he would accompany her on his own Chariot. Balarama would take the lead with Subadra following him, and after they left, Narada Muni would revive Lord Krishna by singing the glories of Vrindavan and Krishna would get on His chariot and immediately follow Balarama and Subadra to Vrndavana.

This is how the origin of the order of the carts during the Ratha-Yatra festival. First Lord Balarama's cart, then Subadra's and finally Lord Krishna's.

When Krishna's Chariot arrived in Vrindavan his feelings of such acute pangs of separation from His beloved Radharani were so intense that his body transformed. His hands and legs became pushed into his body like a tortoise. This is the form of Jagannatha. With big dilated eyes he was only gazing at Radharani.

When King Indradyumna heard from Narada Muni of this pastime of Lord Krishna, He was relieved to hear that these unique deity forms that were just carved standing in front of him were actually completed.

His grief now gone he arranged for three huge carts to bring the Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra to their new temple. A grand procession was arranged where all the citizens pulled the gigantic carts with Their Lordships on them to their magnificent new temple. One for Lord Jagannatha, one for his sister Subadra and another for his Brother Balarama.

World Famous Ratha Yatra in Puri

At the height of Indian summer, right at the beginning of the Monsoon, the Lord of Puri goes to his garden palace for the annual summer vacation. Originally the festival has its foundation in the residents of Vrindavan bringing back their Lords, Krishna, Balaram, and Lady Subhadra from Kurukshetra.

Today in Puri the Lord of the Universe travels in some style from his temple in Puri to his garden temple, located outside the town center called Gundicha. Thousands of Hindus flock to see and to pull the grand chariots from one temple to the other. The English word "juggernaut" comes from the giant chariots of Lord Jagannath of Puri. The British were so stunned by the size of the chariots, they coined a word for it!

In Puri, Lord Jagannath is worshiped with his elder brother Bala-Rama and his sister Subhadra. Each sibling has his / her own chariot and goes to the summer residence with great pomp. Each of the chariots is covered in distinctly colored cloth. Various symbols and signs help pilgrims distinguish between the three gods.

As a mark of respect, and humbleness, the king of Puri sweeps the chariots of the Gods of Puri. The Festival begins with a huge fanfare of conches, trumpets, drums, and cymbals. Accompanied by music and dancers, the divine travelers begin their journey to the garden temple.

In order to accommodate the three chariots, the street leading from the main temple to the garden temple is very wide. Temples, ashrams, famous hotels, inns, shops, and mansions of the old aristocracy line the route. All buildings are colorfully decorated with flags, buntings, and awnings of bright colors.

Ladies in colorful saris/sarees crowd the balconies, doors, and windows decked with flowers. Men and women rush to pull the chariots along this main street of Puri. This is an exciting time in Puri. The Lord who is rarely glimpsed outside his inner sanctum is now easily accessible to everyone in the streets of Puri!

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, away from the innumerable temple servants, away from their spouses, the siblings enjoy their "Vrindavan-like" garden retreat. The temple routine in the garden temple is very much relaxed compared to the main temple. Various festivities and fun are planned for their short stay in this leafy abode. ( Depending on the lunar cycle, this festival can last anywhere from 1 - 2 weeks. )

As the Lord has only taken his brother and his sister on this holiday, the wives are left at home! Alone and brooding, Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth), seeks help from Goddess Vimala to get their husband back. Traveling by night, in a closed palanquin, she arrives at the garden temple of the Lord. She enchants the Lord and entreats him to return.

A few days later, Lord returns to his city temple. Though delighted, goddess Lakshmi orders the temple doors to be shut in His face - in the vain hope of teaching Him a lesson! In the conversation that follows, female attendants (dev-dasi) of the Goddess blame the Lord of being inconsiderate, "Jack the Lad", taking His wife for granted and being far too easily led by the in-laws (sounds familiar?).

The mood of the Sevaks in Puri is that Jagannath is their friend as opposed to Him being their master, as in other lilas. In many cases, the residents of Purushottam Sri Kshetra make many comparisons with their own lives in dealing with Jagannath.

These intimacies reflect the overall mood and carry the tradition of the heritage of Jagannath's original coming to Puri many thousands of years before and the wonderful pastimes of the saintly Indradyumna Maharaj vision of the Lord, Visvavasu the Sabara's attachment to the Lord as Nila Madhav, and finally the mystical appearance of the Dharu-Brahma from which the first Deities were carved by the architect of the devas Vishvakarma, the mystical carrying of the log by the descendant of Visvavasu (Virabhadra) that many elephants and men could not budge. Such wonderful depictive pastimes make one's hair stand in horipulations at their recitation.

Today in Puri Lord's servants explain that He really had no choice, as they bring Him back that He went against His will, He still loves Her deeply and respects Her enormously!! Eventually, the Lord offers the female gate-keepers bribes and enters the inner sanctum to pacify the Goddess Lakshmi.

Such are the dramas of a married man's life! The next day, Lord and the Goddess once again appear in the public, reconciled and as loving as ever. Lord's summer vacation is over, and life in the great temple returns to its age-old routine.

Of all the festivals, the Ratha Yatra of Jagannatha is the most famous. This takes place on the second day of the waxing phase of the moon of the Aashadha month. Jagannatha ordered King Indradyumna to take him to his birthplace, the Gundica Mandira (symbolically Vrindavana), on this day.

Jagannatha's Ratha is marked with a Cakra and Garuda, is yellow in color, with four white horses. The protecting deity is Nrsimha. Baladeva's cart is blue, with a palm tree insignia, and four black horses. The protecting deity is Sesa. Subhadra's cart is black, with lotus insignia, protected by Vanadurga.

Sudarsana is carried out first and placed on Subhadra's cart. In succession Subhadra, Baladeva, and Jagannatha are moved to their carts using silk ropes.

After being situated on their carts they are decorated and worshipped. Midway on the journey, the carts stop, the deities are bathed in Pancamrta and cool water, and Naivedyam and Aratrika are offered. On arrival at the Gundica Mandira, Aratrika is offered, and then the deities enter the temple for rest.

On the fifth day of the lunar month, called Hera (looking for) Panchami, Laksmi comes looking for Jagannatha with Siva and her maidservants. When the servants of Jagannatha see her at the first gate of the Gundica Mandira, they close the door of Jagannatha's Bhoga Mandira so that she cannot see him. She becomes angry and breaks a piece of Jagannatha's Ratha. After taking a meal she returns to the main temple.

On the ninth day of the moon, the return Ratha Yatra takes place, and Lakshmi and her servants come to meet Jagannatha. Jagannatha gives her his garland to appease her.

Several days later on Dvadasi, Laksmi closes the temple doors in anger and her servants quarrel with Jagannatha's servants. After Jagannatha concedes defeat, the doors are opened again. Such is the reverence, the fun, the mysticism, and overall bliss of Rathyatra in Jagannath Puri.


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If possible try to visit one of the best spiritual place in India - Puri Jagannath, Odisha.

How to Reach Puri From Different Parts of India

Bhubaneswar to Puri 65 kms.

Mumbai to Puri is 1782 kms.

Kolkata to Puri 495 km.

Hyderabad to Puri 976 km.

Nagpur to Puri 1029 km.

Chennai to Puri 1279 km.

Kanpur to Puri 1354 km

Goa to Puri 1710 km.

Trivandrum to Puri 1952 km.

Pondicherry to Puri 1394 km.

Ahmedabad to Puri 1724 km.

These trains running from Delhi to Puri, like Purushottam Express, Nandan Kanan Express, and Kalingautkal Express, and you will have number of trains from several important cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Maharashtra, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar.

What Are Best Hotels in Puri?

Hotel Gandhara

Z Hotel

Coco Palms Puri

Hotel Holiday Resort

Toshali Sands

Hotel Shakti International

Mayfair Puri

Hotel Sea Palace

Puri - Golden Sands, A Sterling Holidays Resort

Sea Gull Hotel

Hotel Santana

Hotel Prabhupada

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